Five years after Katrina, the return of disaster capitalism?

One month after news of a giant Gulf Coast oil spill began making headlines across the country, aid organizations worry that the region may see an influx of workers seeking cleanup jobs that simply don’t exist.

“People are being told they can drive here and apply for jobs and BP will pay for travel and hotels. This is just not true,” executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Darlene Kattan said Thursday night at a public meeting in Metairie.

Kattan’s phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from agencies nationwide struggling to find jobs for laid-off workers – and interested in placing workers in cleanup jobs they’ve heard about. Unfortunately, these jobs don’t exist in the numbers imagined, or in the number needed to employ the thousands already here and needing work. In short, the never-ending great recession has met the never-ending oil spill.

Already 3,200 people have attended trainings and received certification to do the estimated in the cleanup. Far less have gotten jobs. Just last week, more than 2,000 people vied for consideration for 500 jobs that may or may not materialize cleaning up oil along Alabama’s shoreline. A BP officials said the company wasn’t accepting any more applications, and would contact those who had already applied if and when the need to fill the jobs arose. Meanwhile, businesses have begun to sell  trainings being provided free of charge in areas affected by the spill through a disaster response command center. The site recently added a page that suggests their training courses will be needed all the way up the East Coast as the oil moves into the loop current.

In the New Orleans region, Kattan has heard about people coming into Hispanic neighborhoods offering to fill out BP job application forms for a $100 fee.“ I don’t want to see another Katrina scenario,” the advocate said, referencing similar scams that exploited Spanish-speaking laborers seeking rebuilding work following the 2005 storm.

While BP has held worker trainings for Spanish as well as Vietnamese-speaking communities, Metairie lawyer Monica Sanchez said Thursday that all those affected by the spill should push BP for more translation services. “They have an obligation,” she said.

But even as Sanchez encouraged those being hurt by the spill to file claims, many in the Hispanic community expressed fears about domino-like economic injury that would not be recognized by the oil giant because it was not directly caused by the spill but instead, caused by rising seafood prices or other disruptions in business that happened as a result of it. Martin Gutierrez, director of the Catholic archdiocese’s Hispanic apostolate, said that Catholic Charities also holds these concerns and accordingly, is using an emergency grant from BP to buy pre-paid gift cards from local grocery stores, rather than national chains.

BP representative Hugh Depland said that while the company wasn’t sure exactly when more workers would be hired, the $239 billion company was spending “a lot of money, time and effort to bring this event to a close.”   And to those worried restaurateurs facing rising prices for shrimp and oysters? In the words of fellow BP rep Randy Prescott: “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • MadAsHell

    God protect me from every running into Randy Prescott, for if I every do, I’m afraid of what I might do.

  • Ashley

    Well here’s his number in case you feel like sharing your thoughts with Randy Prescott, like I’m about to do: 713-323-4093

  • Here’s what we should do: this is worth dragging those limey bastards through every street in New Orleans and Arcadian naked, tared and feathered -and only then after we’ve gotten mid’evil on they assets for a while. I mean… really… this is what they used to do to White Haired Pirates: http://bit.ly/aAIruJ
    It doesn’t matter who’z yer’mominem, if you are talking BP then you gotta come with us.
    And I’m not kidding. Grab them, take’em to the bayous, pull them through their oil until their eyes match the withered frightened gaze our pelicans dying and our citizens crying for Louisiana.

    Where is Honore’? Can somebody get Russell Honore’ on the horn?
    How much room does the US Constitution give us to defend ourselves?
    Sinn Féin Louisiana! E Pluribus Oilum

  • Sammie

    I know what I’d do….

  • Ken

    Fuck you Randy Prescott! FUCK YOU!!!

  • Tchoupitoulas

    What an asinine remark!!!…try coming down to South Louisiana and making that statement. You would end up what I’m sure BP would consider “sushi”….what we down here call “bait”. You should be ashamed of yourself. As aboy says “And BP isn’t the only place that has gas”.

  • Jennifer

    What an IDIOT… Why don’t you go move in with Nagin and ya’ll can keep your dumb and inconsiderate remarks to eachother and see who can out remark who….

  • seide

    Fuck a Randy Prescott, right up the fucking gasshole. I’ma come de-vein your fucking shrimp ass, bitch.

  • bookgrrrrl

    jackass! thanks for the number, ashley. i’ll be calling now, and i shared the number on my fb page. actually, i’m going to need to calm down before i call…

  • Mike

    FU Randy Prescott! I will never give ur company anymore cash…you greedy,heartless asshole

  • Sandra

    I just called the number posted and left a msg. I also shared this on facebook.
    I gotta tell you, I am right there with Editilla. ‘It doesn’t matter who’z yer’mominem.’ I don’t live in Louisiana, but she is in my soul and this man-made disaster affects all of us.

  • kevin

    Keep a published list of names and numbers of BP and Government representatives who show such blatant disrespect for the environment and the communities affected by this Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster. We can put them on a DO NOT SERVE BP or BLACKBALLED FROM LOUISIANA list. Let them eat their own mess!

    My cousins yeah, day jes need to take dem down da bayou a ways, mon yeah cher! Dat’l teechum!

  • research

    How reliable is this quote from Randy? Just sayn….. seems like you can only believe maybe 10% of what you hear in the media.

  • Kay
  • Karen Gadbois

    The quote is reliable. I heard it at the meeting that I reported on in the above post.

  • tom

    Karen, your stirring shit ! I like that 🙂

  • NO.Oil

    Um, if that pisses you off, try this shit on for size

    Vitter Pushes for BP Bailout Bill in Senate:

  • Bryan

    Mr. Randy….In defense of my coon ass neighbors…I’d LOVE to invite you on a river trip, TEXAS style, you fuc*in imbecile. How about I introduce your eye socket to my right fist…

  • lookatitthisway

    Why the hell should BP be forced to provide more translation services? If you don’t speak English, then you’re probably not here legally in the first place. Get the hell out of our country. Millions of American citizens need what few jobs are available.

  • LV

    BP is not the only company that has oil!

  • Crip*Team KATT

    While Louisiana oil producers have to pay a 12% tax on the oil they produce…BP and other foreign oil companies pay ZERO state taxes!!!!

    There is a bill going through the state legislature RIGHT now that will make it 3% state tax for EVERYONE that is having trouble getting passed BECAUSE of the big oil greasing the politicians pocket.

    I’m trying to get a list of every politician that is voting against this bill and they should be Blacked Balled along with BP!!!

  • Gulf Shrimp Girl

    BP should put a blowout preventer on Randy Prescott’s mouth, right before it fires him. Gulf shrimp is the only shrimp I will ever eat. I prefer it with butter rather than oil, though.

  • justfacts

    That last comment by Prescott may be about the most cavalier bull $hit comment I have heard in a wile

  • Chris

    Randy Prescott is a fucking moron ! I’d love for him to make the same disrespectful comment face to face to any of the pissed off fishermen from down here, that for generations have made their living shrimping. He does’nt have the BALLS to approach even one fisherman with any words rearding Louisiana not being the only place that has shrimp. Mr. “DUMBFUCK” Prescott, you should be careful how you choose your words. The next time you eat shrimp, you may have to suck them up through a straw !!!

  • I guess Randy PresCUNT never met a dulac girl!!!!!!It just proves he is an inconsiderate ASSHOLE & A HEARTLESS somthin!!!!!!!I….I will never eat seafood that is not USA…..GOT DAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Roux

    That’s a great job of taking Mr. Prescott’s words out of context….

    from The Hayride…

    He was also quite clear that his remarks were taken completely out of context, and were not, as Ms Gadbois post suggests, made in response “to those worried restaurateurs facing rising prices for shrimp and oysters.”

    He claims that he was answering a question he believed was about whether or not it were safe to eat shrimp at Gulf Coat restaurants. He responded by saying that one must check with local officials to get the straight story there, and that “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”


  • read more than once blog

    It turns out that his statement was likely taken (far) out of context-

    ‘He claims that he was answering a question he believed was about whether or not it were safe to eat shrimp at Gulf Coat restaurants. He responded by saying that one must check with local officials to get the straight story there, and that “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” ‘

    See the 5-27-10, 2:30pm posting at:

    Whether this story is a simple misunderstanding based on an incomplete gathering of the facts, or an intentional smear based on cut-n-paste, I don’t know, but there seems to be some explaining -by those mis-reporting- due.

  • Southern Justice Superior

    FUCK YOU Randy Prescott!! You dirt bag!!

  • Greg Allen

    Ooooh, that makes his statement so much better. Besides the fact that Rush is a narcotic addict, was popped going into the Domincan Republic (male child prostitue capital of the world) with illegal Viagra (what’s Rush’s wife’s name again?) it’s my guess you get ‘informed’ listening to him.

  • Susan
  • Mike

    Can you please tell me where you sourced the “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” quote from? I have looked everywhere and cannot find the origin of the quote. I would be happy to call and relay your thoughts but I will not do so unless I know for sure that the BP representative actually said this.

  • Tracy

    How many other people were at this meeting? It’s strange that only one person is reporting having heard this. I’m not convinced it’s an actual quote.

  • Susan

    Got this from http://thehayride.com/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-the-latest/:

    He claims that he was answering a question he believed was about whether or not it were safe to eat shrimp at Gulf Coat restaurants. He responded by saying that one must check with local officials to get the straight story there, and that “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”

    The implication, in his mind, was that Mississippi, Alabama & Florida also must deal with this, and perhaps there are other, larger, problems facing us all, whoever the culprit.

  • Nikki

    Even if the statement is “out of context,” people in these situations that are the face (or mouth) of a company that is dealing with an epidemic destruction of our planet, homes, and livelihoods should choose their words carefully. You don’t want to deal with a pissed off coonass!

  • D. Smith

    The TRUTH is that no one can be trusted. Not big corporations, not small companies who don’t do right by their employees and not “journalists” who intentionally twist words of representatives they have decided are “the enemy” and therefore fair game in their smear campaign. According to other media outlets, no one else heard Mr. Prescott’s words because this was a one-on-one interview and therefore, no witnesses. The unsuspecting victim gave her a perfect sound bite and she ran with it. And news to all the “coonass” out there — whatever that is — Louisiana isn’t the only place to get shrimp. Go ahead, boycott BP. Personally, I’m boycotting Louisiana. Between Katrina and this incident, I don’t see too much down there worth saving.

  • Ed Verbeke

    Karen Gadbois,
    You stirred the pot big time on this guy Prescott and your quote of him was clearly not referenced or given any context. I knew something wasn’t sitting right about it on first read. You have seriously damaged this guy’s life and career probably so I sure hope you were fairly and honestly representing this seemingly egregious quoted comment and if not you had seriousl y betterget some nationally covered self-career damaging “setting the record straight” going on. If so, you simply should have supported it better rather than throwing it in at the end as a side remark.

  • Lois


  • Russ

    Wow D.Smith … what rock did you crawl out from under? In your words … “I’m boycotting Louisiana. Between Katrina and this incident, I don’t see too much down there worth saving”. Can you possibly be less sensitive to a horrendous situation that impacts not only Louisiana, but the entire Gulf Coast, and eventuall the East Coast??? BP has literally destroyed the lives and livelihood of thousands of good people. BP has also been sited numerous times for “egregious, willful” violations and has paid $373 MILLION in fines to avoid prosectution. Great company culture BP has established. I would rather pay an additional $1/gallon of gas than continue paying into BP’s fund for financing their legal fees.

    And as for you, I’m not sure where you’re from, but I would suggest staying there. The good people of Louisiana don’t need you or your type.

  • randy prescott’s info

    Here’s Randy’s office phone number: (713) 323-4093. Give him a call! You can tell him, “BP isn’t the only place that has fuel for my car!” His email is: Randy.Prescott@bp.com

  • Mary Cogbill

    I say we plug up the holw with the BP Executives!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Found this, ‘hope it’s useful:

    British Petroleum rep Randy Prescott said: “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” Here’s Randy’s office phone number: (713) 323-4093 and his email (randy.prescott@bp.com). Give him a call or shoot him an email! You can tell him “AND BP isn’t the only place that has fuel for my car!” PLEASE REPOST THIS

  • LT

    Shame on you people! Randy Prescott’s comments were taken completely out of context — he was responding to mother who was inquiring about whether it was safe to eat seafood and after explaining how fish and seafood are testing by the government, he said that if she was concerned still for the time being they would at least be able to get shrimp from other states. What is wrong with you people! He happens to be one of the thousands of Americans employed in this awful job market, which the moron you put into office has done nothing to remedy, by BP. Yes, BP messed up and so did Halliburton and Transocean. You do not go attacking a man who was answering a question that you have taken and twisted so out of context that he is now receiving death threats. You should be appalled at your behavior.

  • Ron Cain

    I guess that BP isnt the only place that has oil and fuel!! You idiot, you just told a lot of people that there lives are not worth anything and that BP does not care about anyone other then them selves and the money they make. Way to go RANDY!!!!

  • Jackalope

    It’s obvious from the LACK of coverage from the other media outlets that this “reporter” intentionally misstated Mr. Prescott’s words. Of course, those who are intellectually challenged didn’t stop to THINK about the fact this was substantiated by only 1 person – that same “reporter”. But then, I wouldn’t expect coonies to think – that’s too hard.

  • Jennifer

    It was the gas companies in conjuction with the banks that brought this country down in the first place. Being from the Gulf Coast and living in an area that heavily relies on tourism, there was a monumental decline in the numbers of vacationers due to the fact that gas prices had risen to $5 or more a gallon. This caused the lovely domino effect of people not wanting to take vacations, go out to eat, buy that sweater at the mall etc. just so that they could afford the few gallons it took to do the things they needed to do to survive! The banks may have taken down the housing market, but big oil took down everything they missed.

    NOW they’re putting the whip cream and cherry on top of the sh** pie they made of everything! For those who want to blame Obama, why don’t you take your sanctimonious selves down there and plug up the BP mess with your shirt. Oh, wait…that won’t do it, will it? Only the people that MADE this huge hole in the Earth should be blamed for not having a contingency plan in place when the hole blew out. The President is not a miracle worker, nor to my knowledge has he ever been a Big Oil CEO so I don’t see how he is to blame. He’s doing all that he can and not getting very much cooperation from the company that allowed this to happen and continue.

    Shrimp may come from other places, but there are thousands of people and their families that are out of work now that we can’t get shrimp from our own waters. Not to mention the horrendous loss of human and sea life that will come from this. A huge portion of the Gulf Coast relies on the bounty that Mother Nature provides us, and the people that come down here to enjoy it. So if we can get shrimp elsewhere, where are we going to get the tourists? Where is the tax money for our schools and roads etc. going to come from?

    Those of you “inland” may think it’s a joke and feel superior by giving your opinions, but you are not the ones who are going to have to suffer the most. You’ll feel the effects of it soon enough, though.

    And the best part? Hurricane Season is here. Imagine miles and miles of the coastline of the United States of America covered in oil. I live 5 miles from the water, and I’m terrified of what will happen in the coming months and years because of this.

    I’m sure I don’t need to bother with Randy Prescott, as the foot in his mouth has probably grown bitter enough for him. For those of you who either agree with him or want to shift blame to our President? Do yourself a favor. Shut it.

  • jason

    It would be awful if every BP customer spilled a drink on the floor and calmly said…”I’m sorry but you’ve got a spill to clean up”

  • Fred

    this whole article is about some Anti-sovereignty anti american hispanics wanting free jobs with free translators and promises of a career at cleanup. Afraid that the inabilty to speak english might get you bamboozled? well no kidding moron! To use a “proposed” one liner from BP to clinch the whole article has everyone of you sucking eggs.

  • Sharon Sigafuss

    You know what Mr. Randy, there are many, many other oil companies in this country and I think as american citizens we should totally stop buying BP gasoline… and I mean totallly quite using BP Products….

  • Melissa

    Greetings from Germany! I have just posted this man’s quote, e-mail and phone number on my facebook. We’re with you in spirit even over here! Tell the Island Monkeys what they can do with their inability to manage a drilling operation or take responsibility!

  • Mary

    Taken out of context or not, he still said it, and his flippancy is consistent with BP’s attitude since this debacle began. Just two days ago the BP Chairman said “I want my life back.” Well, boo-hoo. So do those 11 dead men.

  • Kris

    I’m sorry, but the explanation of the original context from which the quotation was taken doesn’t make the statement ANY better–not one bit.

  • Sheena

    I think you should come down here to Louisiana and make a public appology concerning your DUMB ASS statement. But you best bring back up, cuz buddy if you ever step foot in our parts I don’t think you will make it out in one piece. How arrogant can you get !!!??? I wouldn’t buy fuel from BP if my life depended on it! I will walk first. You don’t know who you are Fucking with….. we stick together like glue in the south and we will not take this crap from jerks like you!

  • The Editor

    Dear Readers,

    Based on some of the comments here, as well as phone calls we’ve gotten on this, I’d like to explain a few things about the quote from BP representative Randy Prescott.

    First, The Lens stands by the accuracy of the quote. Even Prescott does not dispute that he said this, saying elsewhere that he chose his words poorly and regrets the remark.

    Second, we stand by the context of the quote, but we appreciate how Prescott could have interpreted it differently. This was a meeting put on by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and, among others, it drew many owners of mom-and-pop eateries, taquerias and taco trucks. A woman in the crowd asked whether the seafood is safe to eat. Given the other questions preceding her, we interpreted it as a business owner asking whether she should pay higher prices for a product that may or may not be safe to serve.

    Prescott interpreted it as a consumer asking whether she could eat seafood at Gulf Coast restaurants. Given the suburban New Orleans setting of the meeting, and the local composition of the audience explained above, it’s a stretch to believe that Prescott was offering advice about restaurants across the Gulf Coast. Still, speaking off-the-cuff to a crowd is not easy, and we recognize he may well have heard the question this way.

    Readers of our story and of his later explanation should consider whether The Lens or Prescott had a reason to present the quote in a particular context.

    Third, the comment was offered as Prescott answered questions from the crowd, not – as has been implied on The Hayride – in a one-on-one conversation with our reporter. Some commenters have asked why this wasn’t reported elsewhere. We can’t explain why other news media didn’t cover this event or why those there chose not to use this quote, which was one of many. But for context, this was an evening meeting on May 20, a day full of other news developments. Part of the mission of The Lens is to provide coverage that the mainstream media does not.

    Fourth, if we were “out to get” Prescott, the quote wouldn’t be buried at the end of the story. Clearly, this has taken on a life of its own, through the actions of those who read the story, took it upon themselves to look up Prescott’s work number and e-mail, and posted them on our site, as well as Facebook and other social media outlets. It’s not our policy to censor comments, except in extreme circumstances. The posting of an easily obtained phone number doesn’t meet that standard.

    For those who dropped in just to read this quote and think we’re sensationalists, I invite you to read other news stories on this site and determine for yourself what kind of news organization we are.

    And as always, we appreciate and welcome your comments.

    —Steve Beatty
    Managing editor of The Lens

  • mike

    So do you have the entrie quote? Is there video or audio of this?

  • The Editor

    We’re not aware of any video or audio recordings of this. His answer was quite short and somewhat stammered. The material quoted was the only usable portion of what he said. We did not cut off anything of substance before or after the quote that would have provided context or coloring.
    –Steve Beatty
    Managing editor of The Lens

  • mike

    I smell a rat here. By adding this: “And to those worried restaurateurs facing rising prices for shrimp and oysters? In the words of fellow BP rep Randy Prescott: “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” this does make you sensationalists.

  • Kacey

    Exactly Mike!!!

    The headline includes “the return of disaster capitalism” and you’re not sensationalists?

  • Debbie

    Mike, I think what was added actually describes the setting in which it was said. I vote “no sensationalism.”

  • Kacey

    So what if that is accurate as far as exactly what was said. Context is EVERYTHING. You’re walking down the street with your dog. I walk up and ask about the dog’s name and you respond by saying, “her name is Sadie.” You pass on and a friend walks up and says, “hey was that Debbie and her dog?” And my response is, “yea it was, she’s a bitch.” Would it be accurate for The Lens to report “Kacey called Debbie ‘a bitch'” without first coming to me for clarification regarding the comment? In the most pathetic, shallow, and simplistic “journalism” there is the answer would be yes. But based on deep, integrity filled, effort driven journalism, such as which USED to exist, the answer is absolutely not. But complete accuracy in the media has become the lowest common denominator….sensationalism and hit pieces have become the greatest, and the norm.

  • ??

    You are attempt to justify use that quote the way you did was calculated and intentional. While not the typical Headline Sensationalism found in some stories. Like “5 Officers Arrested for Theft” where we find the the “Officers” are corporate officers for some company. The implication is that it is Police Officers and that sells the story. Your placement of the quote at the end and isolation it’s context and matched with quote that focused in BP’s wellbeing was like that of a Prosecutor rebuttal to a closing argument. You choose to leave the reader with you skewed presentation of that facts. You may state that “The Lens stands by the accuracy of the quote” But, a lie is still a lie, even when done through omission. And for failure in provide that context is omission.

  • Cara

    I feel like whether or not the quote was taken out of context, doesn’t matter, he still said it and made it seem like it was no big deal that thousands of animals and people will be affected by this. It is big businesses like BP that have no concern for anyone or anything that might get in their way of the almighty dollar!! They cut corners and did not do was necessary to insure something like this would not happen. So ultimately it doesn’t matter what question someone asked, if they would have done what they should have done from the begining, the situation would have never existed in the first place.I agree with Debbie I vote “no sensationalism.”

  • The only context in which I can see this quote being at all acceptable is the following:

    Question: “Is the seafood safe to eat?”

    Answer: (acceptable context locate within the [brackets]
    [You’ll have to check with local authorities. Many areas have been affected. Unfortunately,]
    Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp
    [or other seafood which may have been affected. consumers and business owners should use caution when dealing with gulf seafood.]”

    I find it highly unlikely that this was the context in which Mr. Prescott made his remarks. I feel certain he didn’t mean them as casually or callously as has been implied – but being in a position to address the public on such a massive issue – he needs to have his head about him. Clearly – he did not.

  • Mega

    I work in a gas station, and I am deeply ashamed right now that we sell BP brand gas. Maybe I can convince my superiors to change brands.

  • cathy

    Context deosn’t matter…… he said it and that’s that! It’s beyond discusting

  • Gerald

    Kacey, did you read the story after the headline? It’s actually about people that are making and losing money from this man made disaster. Hence the title, The Return of Disaster Capitalism. People, especially reps from BP, need to choose their words wisely when speaking in public. Anything that comes out of your mouth is fair game for journalists. This was not a group of people sitting around having a private conversation, this was a comment made at a public forum. I do not believe he was
    quoted out of context in the story. It was the people who circulated his quote on the web that did it out of context. The quote seems less callous when taken in the context of replying to restaurant owners worried about rising seafood prices, but it was still a dumb thing to say and I’m sure he regrets it. Maybe BP should do a little less damage control to their image and worry a little more about damage control to the environment.

  • Allen

    Since the rig blew six weeks ago, BP has done a lot to reinforce the image of self-absorbed global oil conglomerates, and now every time we here “BP-Speak” on the news, we’re expecting it to be a crass, clueless blathering. BP has done little to dispel that mindset.

    However….. Here’s a BP guy on the Gulf, right there where the damage is happening, and he’s seen the effect the oil gush is having on real lives. I can see him thinking that the damage isn’t limited to Louisiana, though that’s the state we all talk about. Just as with Katrina, Mississippi was also terribly damaged, but the news focused on Louisiana, and Mississippi was mostly a side story. With the image BP has callously cultivated, we’re now expecting to read negativity into every word that comes from the mouth of every BP employee.

    Maybe we shouldn’t rush to assume we know his thoughts. “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp” may could have been bettered expressed by saying “Louisiana isn’t the only place seeing their shrimping damaged.”

    Just a thought.

  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV

    Snopes.com, the urban-legend debunking site, is currently in the middle of investigating this alleged quote. If I were The Lens, I would hurry to find a corroborating reporter or witness, pronto: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/shrimp.asp

  • Amanda

    I am disturbed by the fact that this was even said. Regardless of the situation in which he thought it was okay to insult Louisiana this way, he should have just not said anything. BP would do so much better by NOT speaking to the public at this point, because no matter what they say, the people are not going to be satisfied with it. Nothing they say or do will be good enough at this point. The roughnecks working on the rig that lost their lives, the animals on both land and sea, the plants, the ground – everything that has been destroyed – can not be replaced. And even if a miracle occurs and the leak is stopped and all the crude is miraculously and instantaneously cleaned up, it will not be good enough for the general public. That won’t fix everything that has been destroyed over the last six weeks. You can’t bring back the sea turtles, the whales, the dolphins, the coral, or even the shrimp that Mr. Prescott thinks everyone is so worried about. It won’t fix the fact that for the last 6 weeks all of the shrimpers and fisherman and everyone who makes their living on the gulf have not had any income because of this. They can’t fix that. And I have yet to hear of BP offering some sort of compensation for all those who have lost their jobs over all of this. Yes, there are shrimp elsewhere, Mr. Prescott, but you can’t expect everyone to just up and move because they can’t shrimp in the waters you contimanated. It doesn’t work that way here in the real world.

  • Timmy

    My compassion has been tempered. I know an individual who has been in the area conducting “clean up” certification training. This person indicated that a majority of people seeking “certification” for the clean up jobs have zero interest in actually working, however they ARE asking for a signature so they can show the unemployment office they attended. Some couldn’t even sign the attendance roster, had to use an X because they cant read or write they’re own name. Said person ALSO indicated that they’ve had to put up metal detectors at building entry points because several students have brought weapons to class, and fights are breaking out in the middle of the classroom. His disheartened observation: “Now I understand how the Katrina disaster happened”. Maybe there will be jobs available for those who want them after all!

  • Dan R

    Context is impossible to know in written text, so is tone.
    I’m sure everyone reading this has had a miscommunication or bad feeleings because of something in an email that was perceived in an unintended way.
    Everyone hates big oil, but c’mon, the guy was answering worried restauranteurs asking if this meant shrimp prices would go up. And he said “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp”. You can not know the context or intent of this comment from this article.
    Was it with a smug grin on his face and accenting the word Lousiana? Or was it a genuine honest answer, trying to reassure the restauranteurs? People always seem to be looking for the negative in others.

  • Dan R

    Allen, The way I am reading it, he was saying in effect, “No, your shrimp prices will not go up, because there are many places other than Louisiana (not affected by the spill) that you can purchase your shrimp from”.

    Am I missing something? Isn’t that what he was saying?

  • John

    Dan, and all of the other people who are jumping to conclusions about what BP’s PR man said, in absence of a complete story from “The Lens”:

    From what the editor said, a woman in the crowd asked whether:
    “whether the seafood is safe to eat”

    In response, the BP rep said:
    “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp”

    That statement, in response to whether seafood is safe to eat, is neither insensitive nor irresponsible.
    If people want to continue to be offended, they may. But they are responding to what they thought they heard, instead of what was actually said.

    To Steve Beatty, managing editor:
    That was a horrible defense of really poor writing. I took journalism courses and worked for two different college newspapers. If we had pulled crap like that and we’re caught doing it, our adviser would be spending the next ten minutes talking about libel and slander.

    A reporter (a good one, at least) never gives their ‘interpretation’ of what was said without labeling it as such. They report the question, and the answer that was given. In this case, the question that generated that quote never even made it into your article. That’s inexcusable.

    And those of us who have written for newspapers, even college ones, know that you use your best quotes as a button for your article. Shame on you for pretending that you ‘buried’ it ‘at the end’.

  • Jonathan R.

    Which meeting was this?

    Says that this was at a meeting…were there any other reporters there. Maybe there was a reporter with a recording device or something like that.

    I also think that ya’ll should link to the ‘elsewhere’ where Prescott said “that he chose his words poorly and regrets the remark”. I’ve looked for this ‘elsewhere’, and the only thing that I’ve found is a blog entry that has since been deleted (http://humidcity.com/?p=3286). Since you cite this ‘elsewhere’ as proof of your accuracy, then I believe that you should provide a link.

    Also there is the fact that this happened at a public meeting. Maybe one of the other people in attendance could verify Prescott’s statement. Preferably one of the folks that were named in the actual article, since we know that their actual attendance at the event is a certainty.

    Finally and once again. Which meeting was this? Who organized the meeting? I’m sure that at a minimum the organization has a secretary, and I can’t imagine an event having these groups and citizens there and no one thinking to record the thing.

  • shaking my head in disgust

    Does anyone think before they speak anymore? Including all those screaming “boycott BP”? Look, the whole thing sucks. Lives have been destroyed. The Gulf environment is completely fucked. The list goes on and on, but who ALL are we hurting with a boycott? Has anyone thought about our own citizens and for that matter, neighbors who own or are employed by BP franchises (local stations)? Boycotting BP is boycotting our friends and neighbors! I dont claim to know what the answer is and I do believe that BP indeed needs to pay significant price for this catastrophic disaster, but eliminating American jobs and taking more money out of our own economy while our country is still deep in recession is shallow thinking and almost as inexcusably short-sighted as the BP execs who decided to cut corners to begin with.

  • linda

    Bp is not the only place I can fuel up my car .My whole family and I agree and when I say family,I mean a big family….Bp use to be the only place I would go…Now I will never go there again…

  • Justin

    Steve, Could you please proofread Karen’s work more closely in the future? “3,200 people have attended trainings…”? You’ve got to be kidding me!

  • Linda

    I will never go to BP again! There is one right on my way to work and I don’t care if I’m driving on fumes I will bypass it and go out of my way to get gas somewhere else!

  • Donielle

    If BP feels Louisiana is not the only place to buy shrmp or that Lousiana Shrimp, Oysters,seafood is unimportant they need to realize we can also buy gas elsewhere!! It effects more than jst the fishermen. Let us remember the restaurants- stores-the people who work at these places( waitresses, etc) Louisiana sticks together when it comes to these issues!! We buy locally to sustain our culture and businesses!!!

  • johnnytherabbit

    Well, every person on earth that has an I.Q. of 4 or better knows what corporations and there executives care about. So for all of you people senselessly debating how to interpret the words of a complete megalomaniac the only thing that you can do is live a life with a lower carbon foot print…Tesla car company…Nissan….buy an electric car. We all have blood on our hands at this point being that there IS an alternative to the internal combustion engine.

    Sincerely yours,


  • mo

    BP’s callous dismissal of the irreparable damage they have recklessly caused our earth demands redress. Their record for violations of our regulations is appalling. They have not been forthcoming, cooperative, or successful managing this disaster. BP’s assets must be consumed in reparations. Perhaps, the US Government should seize those assets and assume management in the interest of our damaged Mother Earth. The only possible way out of this man-made morass appears to be first containing BP, then the disaster in the Gulf.

  • BP isn’t the only company that sales gas…won’t be buying BP. You hurt the fisherman and shrimpers in their pocket – lets see if we can’t hurt you in yours, passing by BP gas stations, get the oil out of our waters and take your gas with you

  • Donielle

    yes we all do have some blood on our hands BUT when a major incident like this happens-which was PREVENTABLE- but a company man disregarded the standard operating procedures and safety measures in an effort to “speed up” the process of the drilling. Then we can convict BP of harm. The fact that they can voce openly lack of concern for Louisiana and make it sound like a scratch on the knee is what ticks people off! Yes glad hey are cleaning and tking blame- it’s all theirs.

  • Lynn

    BP’s actions speak louder than their words — the shoddy attention to the clean-up effort and the complete lack of solutions to cap the well are irresponsible at best.

  • why is there a Hispanic chamber of commerce? isn’t commerce just commerce. Also all you people blaming bp, who did in fact screw up, can I remind you, your goverment is NOT helping out because they are too busy pointing fingers to get the bandaids. They are utter hypocrites. Solve the problem then lay the blame not vice versa.

  • Breezy

    To be perfectly honest I don’t care what BP has to say in their defense the damage is done. Shrimp or no shrimp they did serious harm and their complete idiocy and lack of responsibility is pretty insulting. I hope everyone just drives past their gas stations. This isn’t a one time thing, they’ve been labeled the least green and eco friendly companies numerous times.